Now, for our latest edition of the Food and Farm Showcase, a partnership with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Broome County.
Today, we travel to the Town of Tioga to see how organic chickens are raised. Wild Rose Farm is a family affair raising broiler chickens, eggs, lamb and a little bit of produce. Scott and Stephanie MacDonald moved their family from California to Guiles Road in 1996 and began raising chickens and sheep the following year. They’re now joined by sons Alex and Ian and Alex’s wife Sydney.
All of the livestock is raised out in the pasture without antibiotics and their diet is supplemented by feed that is non-GMO and free of herbicides and pesticides. The broiler chickens live in mobile chicken tractors, pens the MacDonalds built to protect them from predators and the elements. Twice each day, they slide the pens down the pasture so that the chickens can graze on and fertilize new patches of land.
“They don’t get sick because we take really good care of them. They’re never enclosed, they’re always out on pasture. Obviously, I think they taste better. I may be biased, but I think they’re better. They live good, healthy lives and what we put in our bodies should also be as healthy and happy as possible.”
The MacDonalds raise and process on site up to 1,000 broiler chickens per year. They also have about 150 egg-laying hens and about 60 head of sheep that they raise for meat rather than wool. The broilers are staggered so that fresh chicken is processed every Sunday and Wednesday from Spring through August allowing some customers to come and buy it directly from the farm.
“It’s never been transported anywhere. We process it and it goes right into the refrigerator. It’s about as fresh as you can get without doing it yourself. They love it, they come back for it. We’ve been selling fresh chicken to community members for over 20 years now.”
Wild Rose Farm also sells its chicken, eggs, lamb and vegetables at the Regional Farmers Market on Upper Front Street.
The lamb is processed in the Spring and they also raise a handful of turkeys.
You can find them on Facebook by searching, Wild Rose Farm.